A well-functioning justice system is essential for maintaining social order, upholding individual rights, and promoting trust in institutions. It ensures that conflicts are resolved fairly and that those who violate the law are held accountable for their actions. The Court is the last hope of a common man, as it dispenses Justice fairly to every man. Hence liberating a common man from facing the unmerited consequences of an action or crime. Justice is usually dispensed by the Courts through the Judiciary, and a State attains a sound Justice system through the effectiveness of the Judiciary, the Government, and it’s agencies.
This Article therefore examines how a State can attain a sound Justice System, and the State’s with the worst Justice system.
What Is a Justice System?
A Justice System is widely defined to mean the various agencies, establishments, Institution, and association tasked with administering and enforcing Law in a State. This Law could be the Criminal or Civil Law of the State
A Justice system usually comprises of Law Enforcement agencies, the Courts, and Correctional centers.
1. Law Enforcement Agencies: Law Enforcement agencies are charged with maintaining Law and order in a State, by preventing and investigating crimes, arresting suspects of a crime, closing down illegal companies, ensuring the safety of Citizens of a State, and all.
2. Court: The Court consists of Lawyers, Juries and Judges. They interpret the Law, prosecute, and sanction Criminal Offenders, as well as impose fine or damages on a defaulters of a Civil Cause. The Court enforces Law in a State through interpreting the Provisions of a Law, and punishing offenders who default such Law.
3. Correctional Centers: A Correctional Center incorporates all sorts of Punishment, penalty, and sentencing pronounced by the Court after investigation by the Law enforcement agencies and the institution of same matter by these Law enforcement agencies in the Court of Law.
A Correctional Center therefore houses offenders and Criminals who have been sanctioned to a Specific punishment pronounced by a Court of Law. Correctional centers includes: Prison and other institutions which serves the same purpose.
Flowing from the above, the Law enforcement agencies, the Courts, and Correctional Centers majorly makes up a Justice System.
In a State, the functionality of these three often determines the Functionality of the Justice System in the State, as if these three are not proactive, Justice will not be effectively meted to citizens of the state, but if they’re proactive in addition to a few other factors, the State will have a very good Judicial System.
Determinants of a Good Judicial System
The following are the factors which makes a State have a very good Justice System:
1. Effectiveness of Government checks: In a democratic State, there are three organs of Government and the principle of Checks and Balance takes full spring; in that each organ of Government shall checkmate the actions of the other organ and restrict it’s arbitrary use of it’s powers.
The Effectiveness of Government checks on each organ and Governmental agencies helps to prevent abuse of Governmental powers by the Executive, it’s agencies, and the Judiciary. Hence, making the Judicial System in the State more efficient.
2. Openness of the Government: An Open Government is a Government which shares information, empowers citizens with tools to hold the Government accountable, and Forster the Participation of Citizens in the deliberation of Public Policy.
A State wherein the Rights of it’s Citizens are well publicized and accorded priority, it’s citizens being allowed participate in the decision making process of the Government, and having access to the right information makes a good Justice System.
3. Absence of Corruption: Corruption is an act of dishonesty or an illegal behaviour exhibited by people in Authority. Corruption usually comes in four forms, namely: Bribery, Lobbying for private interest, misappropriation of public funds, and the use of Government office for private gain.
When there is a high level of corruption in a state, there will be little or no consideration of the needs and rights of the Citizens, and this affects the effectiveness of the Judicial system in the State.
4. Upholding the tenets of Fundamental Human Rights: Protecting the basic rights of the citizens in a state and upholding the observance of the rule of Law in that state is an important factor which makes a good Judicial System in the State.
5. Security: A watertight Security System leads to the enforcement of Law and Order in a State. However, where there is an absence of an effective Security System, the citizens in a State may willingly commit a crime or suffer a wrong without a remedy. Hence, Justice will not be dispensed to them, but in a State where the reverse is the case, Law and Order will be maintained in the State and Justice will be upheld.
6. Effectiveness of Government agencies: The Government cannot handle everything in a State by itself, that is why they set up some agencies which will assist in enforcing Law and order in the state and implementing Policies which will protect the citizens of the State.
The Effectiveness and efficiency of these Government agencies is another major determinant of the good Justice System in the State.
7. Access to Justice: Justice cannot be served where the citizens do not have access to Justice. The accessibility of Citizens to lay their complaints and follow up their grievances in Court leads to effective delivery of Justice in a State.
These aforementioned factors are key factors which determines the strength and efficiency of the Justice System in a State. Sadly, a good number of these factors are absent in a good number of States in the world today, and some of these States in question are deemed to have the worst Justice System in the World.
10 Countries with the Worst Justice System
In no particular order, the following are the states with the worst Justice System in the world:
1. Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia, a middle East County in Western Asia has a Judicial system based on Islamic Law for both Criminal and Civil Cases, but this Judicial system lacks transparency as the Islamic Laws are not codified neither are the case Laws published and there exists an arbitrary rule on the part of the judges to freely interpret the Law in any manner so desired by them.
Furthermore, there is a wide spread of Lack of Independence of the Judiciary, Partiality amongst Judicial Officers, Discrimination especially against Women, and lack of respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizens of the State.
Additionally, the persistent breach of the rights of citizens in the state, unlawful killing of humans, unlawful detention, and discrimination against Race and gender in the State makes the Saudi Arabia Justice system one of the worst Justice System in the World.
2. Pakistan: Pakistan just like Saudi Arabia is an Asian Country. It reportedly strides low on the operation and enforcement of Rule of Law in the Country and the Judicial System in Pakistan has been labelled one of the worst in the world both for Judicial officers and also for the Citizens who are often not served Justice due to the lengthy trials in the state which makes Justice being delayed and at the same time being Denied.
According to a recent report by the International World Justice Project, the Pakistan Legal System is rated 120 out of the 120 considered countries in the world. Hence, deservedly earning it’s place as a State with one of the worst Justice System in the world.
3. Bolivia: Bolivia is a Country in Central South America, with a Judicial System divided into Upper and Lower level, but with the ultimate power resting on the Supreme Court of Justice.
The Judicial System in Bolivia is widely regarded as dysfunctional, no thanks to the excessive corruption in the State, and the lack of resources, accountability, transparency, and credibility in the eyes of it’s citizens.
Notably, Bolivia witnesses other issues such as Political Instability, Inadequate Education, Social inequality, and failure to observe the rule of Law which synchronizes to make the Justice System in Bolivia really poor.
4. Egypt: Egypt is a North African State which has a Judicial System consisting of three Supreme Courts: The Supreme Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, and the Supreme Administrative Court. However, the Judicial System in Egypt faces a multiplicity of challenges, such as: Inefficiency, Slow Justice delivery, Lack of Independence of the Judiciary, Lack of enforcement of the Rule of Law, and interference of the Executive with the affairs of the Judiciary.
Egypt ranks as one of the worst States in the world in terms of Openness of the Government, as there is little or no participation of the citizens in Governance and policy making in the State. Moreso, there is lack of accountability of the Government to it’s citizens and limited access of Citizens to information. Hence, making Egypt boast of one of the worst Justice System in the world.
5. Bangladesh: The Judicial System in Bangladesh is fronted with excessive corruption, bribery of Judicial officers, inadequate funding and allocation of resources to Judicial officers which prompts bribery, lack of accountability and transparency amongst these Judicial officers in the State.
Also, there is grossly lack of Independence of the Judiciary, Insecurity of citizens of the State, inefficiency of the operation of Rule of Law, and lack of Openness of the government which makes it one of the worst States in the world with a poor Justice System.
6. Venezuela: Venezuela currently ranks as one of the most corrupt states in the world. Corruption and mismanagement of Public funds in this State has been a norm, and this has affected all sectors of the State, the Judicial sector Inclusive.
The Judicial system in the State is poorly efficient and crying for reforms; as the Judiciary lacks Independence, and there is no prevalence of the rule of Law or enforcement of the Rights of the Citizens by the Judiciary. Also, Victims of crimes in the State are often deprived of Justice, offenders are freely roaming the streets, and there is often an Unlawful detention of Citizens by the Military and lot’s more which makes the Justice System in Venezuela really deplorable.
7. Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe is an African Country, which according to the report of the World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index, is ranked very low in the seven considered determinants of a good Justice system.
In Zimbabwe, basic laws and the rights of the citizens are not respected. Also, there is usually an Arbitrary rule on the part of the Government who are foiled with the cons of Corruption, Mismanagement of Funds, Lack of Accountability and Openness, and interference with the affairs of the Judiciary.
The Lack of Independence of the Judiciary in Zimbabwe, inaccessibility to Justice, and the Lengthy trial of a matter for those who can access the Courts, makes the Justice System in the State so poor.
8. Cambodia: Cambodia is a South eastern Asia state which ranks high with one of the worst Justice System in the world. There is usually Violation of Human Right issues amongst the Citizens and lack of Protection by the Government. Also, interference of the Government in the affairs of the Judiciary and Private Citizens often leads to unlawful detention and more.
The Court System in the State is earmarked by a high level of inefficiency in Justice delivery, as the poor are marginalized, there is a high level of corruption which leads go the vulnerability of the Judiciary and there is usually to limited accessibility to Justice in the State.
9. Cameroon: Cameroon is characterized with an ineffective Judicial system and a lackluster Judiciary, no thanks to the slow nature of Justice delivery in the State and the dependence of the Judiciary on other organs of Government.
According to a Report by the World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index, the World’s leading source for Original and Independent Data on the Rule of Law, Cameroon has the 5th worst Judicial system in the World.
In addition to it’s poor Judicial System, Cameroon also suffers from insecurity, Corruption, and Lack of accountability of the Government.
10. Afghanistan: Afghanistan is a Country well known for its ceaseless violence, unlawful killing, terrorism, Corruption, destruction of properties, violation of the fundamental rights of it’s citizens, and Poverty. But it is not well known for its terrible Justice System.
Well, the Judicial System in Afghanistan is underwhelming, as it is characterized by poor Justice delivery, lack of accountability, lack of transparency in Justice delivery, lack of accessibility to Justice, non-compliance with the Rule of Law, and many more which easily makes the Justice System in Afghanistan to be one of the worst in the World.
11. North Korea: With no independent judiciary and no right to a fair trial, North Korea is renowned for having one of the worst judicial systems in the world. The courts, the prosecutor’s office, and the legal profession are all under the government’s total control.
To stifle criticism and punish political opponents, the government employs the judiciary as a tool. Criminal suspects are frequently subjected to torture, forced labour, and execution without a fair trial.
12. Syria: Another nation with a notoriously flawed justice system is Syria. Widespread human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary detention, have been attributed to the Syrian government. The justice system is corrupt, and many trials are conducted in secret without any transparency or due process. Citizens who express their disapproval of the government or take part in demonstrations are frequently detained and abused.
In Conclusion, it is instructive to note that there are a few more countries with a terrible Justice System, but these 12 so examined in this Article, stands tall as the Countries with the Worst Justice System in the World.